TIME publication named teen climate actor, Greta Thunberg, their “Person of the Year.” Their decision left many people scratching their heads, wondering what the teenager from Sweden has actually done to deserve so much recognition from the media while overlooking young women like Morgan Vague, who actually made a scientific discovery last year that could be one of the most significant contributions to our planet in recent history. In July 2018, The Independent reported about Morgan Vague, a biology student at Reed College in Oregon, who may have found a solution to one of the most urgent environmental crises in the world. She discovered a breeding bacteria that can “eat” plastic and break it down into by-products that are harmless. One of the most common plastics is PET or polyethylene terephthalate. It is used in bottles, clothing, and food packaging. This type of plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and it causes damage to the environment. According to Vague, “Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year — yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste?”
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